A 14-year-old Syrian boy recently told the BBC the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) filmed militants torturing him to use in propaganda. Only a few days ago, local officials in Iraq’s Anbar and Diyala provinces told Turkish state outlet Anadolu Agency the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) kidnapped almost 500 children to use as suicide bombers.
ISIS captured Ahmed when they caught him planting a bomb near a meeting area for the militants. They dragged him away and proceeded to torture him for two days. The BBC reports:
The mobile phone footage shows Ahmed hanging a foot or so off the ground.
He is blindfolded, and two masked men, dressed head to toe in black, pace the ground in front of him. One has a knife and a pistol; the other strides around the room with an AK-47.
They hung Ahmed from the ceiling by his arms and then the beating started.
“When they electrocuted me, I used to scream calling for my mother,” he described, elaborating:
But as soon as I did, [one of the torturers] used to up the voltage even more. “Don’t bring your mother in it,” he used to say. They pretend they’re religious, but they’re infidels. They used to smoke. They pretend to be enforcing the rules of Muslims, but they’re not. They hit and kill people.
The terrorists sentenced him to death, but the executioner allowed him to escape. Now, he lives in Turkey, where he still cannot sleep well without experiencing nightmares. The man who filmed militants beating Ahmed handed over the evidence to the BBC but did not explain how ISIS used the video for propaganda.
“I am regretting every moment,” he confessed. “When I joined IS, I wasn’t convinced of it but I had to. Although I wasn’t particularly heavy-handed with people, I hope that the people I hurt will forgive me.”
ISIS also kidnaps children to participate in suicide attacks and force their warped version of Islam onto them.
“Daesh has kidnapped at least 400 children in the western province of Anbar, and taken them to their bases in Iraq, and Syria,” explained Farhan Mohamme, a member of Anbar’s Provincial Council.
Militants kidnapped another 100 from Diyala.
“Daesh has recruited about 100 children under the age of 16,” said Lieutenant General Kasim Al-Saidi, Diyala’s police chief. “They are going to brainwash these kids into being suicide bombers.”
On May 11, Sheikh Shamo, a Kurdish Yazidi member of Iraqi Parliament, reported that ISIS has forced abducted Yazidi children to work as soldiers for the terrorist group. ISIS is known to use children as soldiers. In February, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child claimed the militants force “mentally handicapped kids into service as suicide bombers.” A video from November displayed militants training child soldiers at a camp in Iraq.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims ISIS also recruited 400 children in 2015 alone. The group targets schools and mosques in areas it controls in Iraq and Syria.
“They use children because it is easy to brainwash them,” explained Rami Abdulrahman, the man in charge of the rights group. “They can build these children into what they want, they stop them from going to school and send them to IS schools instead.”
ISIS calls the children “Cubs of the Caliphate.” A video from February advertised a new training camp for young boys, where the people in charge teach the children about radical Islam and warfare. Another training camp taught children as young as eight-years-old how to properly behead and torture people.
A video in August actually featured Omar al-Shishani, a Chechen leader within ISIS. He appeared openly, without anything covering his face. The children proudly performed for him the chants, songs, and military formations they learned. They also showed him they knew how to balance a gun and aim properly.